A Northamptonshire paramedic has returned to the UK after spending a month volunteering in the fight to stop the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone.
Sam Sears, paramedic and associate clinical team mentor, is now undergoing a three-week quarantine before he can go back to work on the road.
The 33-year-old said: “I have always wanted to be involved with a foreign aid project.
“The epidemic in West Africa needed the western world to assist and I am extremely proud to have provided help towards combatting this deadly disease. If I have improved just one life within this period of despair then I feel like I have accomplished what I aimed to do.”
Before his deployment to Kerry Town in Sierra Leone in January, Mr Sears took part in an intensive training programme, covering vital topics such as cultural awareness, epidemiology, personal safety and sanitation.
He said: “The whole experience was incredible and a once in a lifetime experience. It was an honour to work alongside a variety of NHS professionals with Save the Children International.
If I have improved just one life within this period of despair then I feel like I have accomplished what I aimed to doSam Sears, EMAS paramedic
“These hugely varied cultures are all working together with one aim of treating Ebola virus patients, and they do it efficiently and effectively. The deployment had its challenges but also its highlights, being able to see children that had beaten the virus against the odds and been discharged was definitely one of which.”
During his deployment, Mr Sears, based at Kettering Ambulance Station, also worked closely with the Cuban Medical Brigade, which, he said, was challenging but gave him the opportunity to practice speaking Spanish and Krio (the local language).
Blanche Lentz, general manager for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) in Northamptonshire, said: “We are all extremely proud of Sam for volunteering to contribute to the global medical response. It is thanks to people like him that the epidemic is gradually declining and so many lives are being saved.
“Sam is a brilliant paramedic and we are pleased to have him back safely supporting the people of Northamptonshire.”
Two other paramedics from EMAS have also spent some time supporting in West Africa, including Colin Macalindin from Nottinghamshire and David Joyce from Leicestershire.